Lingering questions after City Attorney exposes Bonusgate

Fresno City Hall’s top lawyer exposed Bonusgate. Now, questions are focusing on him, George Hostetter writes.


Back to Sloan.


As summer wound down, Sloan had his ducks all lined up.

He was happy with his salary because it was the same as the city manager’s salary.

He had the OK from his bosses (given in open session) to boost the pay of his top performers.

He knew he wouldn’t be viewed as a rebel within the cozy confines of City Hall because other city employees (most of then union members) were starting to see raises.

Sloan merely had to do two things. First, he had to call in the chosen employees and tell them the good news about the raises (or bonuses). Then he had to keep his bosses informed of what he was doing (always a good idea for anyone who isn’t king of the world).

Sloan’s bosses (per the City Charter) are the seven council members. Sloan probably could have taken care of the chore simply by sending an email to Council President Baines.

But that’s not what Sloan did, as he acknowledged to me. Simply proceeding according to the plan wasn’t enough.

“I wanted to be a team player,” Sloan said.

So, Sloan went to the executive side of City Hall and ran his ideas for pay raises/bonuses past City Manager Rudd. Sloan said no one from the council told him to do this.

Sloan said he didn’t want to rock the boat. Sloan said he didn’t want his proposed pay raises/bonuses to be perceived by others in City Hall as outlandish. Sloan wanted the security of Rudd’s approval.

Sloan said he got the ball rolling by sending an email to Rudd. Sloan said he didn’t send a courtesy copy of the email to Baines or other council members.

There’s nothing in the City Charter that says Sloan had to contact the city manager to get permission to do what the City Council had already authorized.

But Sloan did it anyway. And now Fresno finds itself in a fine mess.

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